United States Edition

Black cohosh  

Cimicifuga racemosa

Black cohosh is part of the Cimicifuga genus and its scientific name is Cimicifuga racemosa. The racemosa part of this plant's botanical name means 'with flowers borne in racemes'.

Lovely shade perennial herb with striking flower stalks, up to 6 feet tall.

This variety typically blooms in the following colours:   Floral white. Black cohosh grows as a perennial and is a flowering herb / flower. Being a perennial plant, it tends to grow best over several years (approx 3 years and greater). Black cohosh is known for its forb growing habit. Expect harvests to start to occur in late autumn.

United States is believed to be where Black cohosh originates from.

Black cohosh is great for inexperienced gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Black cohosh have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Black cohosh

  • Full Shade

    OR +
  • Dappled Sun

  • High

This naturally grows in wooded areas, and prefers rich, moist soil with lots of leaf mulch. Dappled shade to full shade is best. It can be propagated by seed or through root division. It is a prolific reseeder when given the right conditions. Does well on steep slopes as long as it has both 1) moisture and 2) well draining soil. If your soil does not drain well, consider putting it in a raised bed.

A full shade / dappled sun position will ensure your plant thrives and remember to water often. Use Zone 3 - Zone 8 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Black cohosh requires a loamy soil with a ph of 5.0 - 6.0 - it grows best in moderately acidic soil - weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Black cohosh is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Black cohosh to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Black cohosh from seed

Very difficult to germinate from seed, may take several years. They need a period of warm – cold – warm.

Sow seed for next year in late summer/early autumn about 1/4 below surface. This can be done in flats or direct.

Cold stratify 2 weeks at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 4 weeks at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Another alternative is to store for 2 weeks 70F and then 3 months at 40F.2

Transplanting Black cohosh

Transplant the seedlings in spring after frost has left the ground.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Black cohosh is a hardy plant.

Harvesting Black cohosh

Gather Black Cohosh rootstock in the fall after the fruit has formed. Wash roots carefully, blot with paper towel or absorbent cloth. Dry in a well ventilated area away from smoke, pets and pests, preferably on wire racks. 1

Seed Saving Black cohosh

It’s best to directly sow these in the ground when mature rather than to save them indoors, due to their tendency to go into different (and difficult to break) stages of dormancy.

They are mature when you can hear the seeds rattling around in the pods.

Common Black cohosh problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Black cohosh plants:

Black cohosh Folklore & Trivia

Has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, especially for women (reportedly helpful with hot flashes). Due to this demand it is being overharvested in the wild, and is becoming increasingly rare. Make sure you’re buying seeds or plants from reputable outlets.

Other names for Black cohosh

Black bugbane, American baneberry, Black snakeroot, Bugbane, Bugwort, Cimicifuga, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Squawroot, Cimicifuga racemosa

Latest Black cohosh Reviews

  • 24 Jul 2014

    HollyBee HollyBee's Cimicifuga was Reviewed day 6258

    Finished spreading black cedar mulch. This bed is now done for this year (unless I find a hosta I can’t do without)

    0 stars

See all Black cohosh reviews and experiences »

Black cohosh care instructions

How long does Black cohosh take to grow?

These estimates for how long Black cohosh takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!


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